Blazing lights. Glamour. The hush that results from a powerful speech, followed by a standing ovation. These are the things we dream of when planning an event – the aspects that ensure a truly memorable occasion. Hiring event entertainment often constitutes a huge part of that. But reality has a habit of coming between you and a smooth, faultless event – unless you know how to handle it, that is.
You may want to hire a live band, opt for corporate entertainers, or choose something completely unique… The principle is the same for acts of all shapes and sizes: poor decisions on the day (as well as those leading up to it) will affect your chances at hiring a headliner that takes your event to the next level.
But we’re not going to leave any room for error! When booking through Silk Street, bear the following suggestions in mind for a seamless event entertainment experience. We’re going to cover scheduling, requests, and how to keep an act happy when they arrive…
Tell them exactly what you want
We all have a vision of the perfect performance in our heads. The question is, does it match what the group or individual is able to give?
A function band, for instance, might have a 200-song repertoire, yet aren’t comfortable with a set list that shifts beyond pop and R&B. That’s hardly going to suit an audience of jazz fanatics or the members of a formal dinner. Likewise, a comedian may have built their reputation on risqué material – something that will crack up a birthday audience, to be sure, but may be greeted with silence at a black-tie ceremony.
So when you come to us for an outstanding performer, be upfront about what you’re hoping to get out of the act. We’ll need to know the theme, mood and context of an event, as well as the equipment they’re required to bring. Casual or corporate event entertainment is usually spot on with its value proposition. Our hires are fully aware of who they are, and we know them inside out too. Whatever your brief, it pays to ensure the act can fulfil it.
Clarify the length of time they’ll set aside
Life is unpredictable and things can crop up that impact on our plans. Do you have a strong feeling that the stage times may run over? Tell the act beforehand. They will be much happier to oblige if they’re given a heads-up, as opposed to finding out last minute.
Everyone from a wedding singer to caricaturists, harpists and celebrity impersonators will appreciate a little advance notice in order to plan their day. Are they okay getting to and from the venue on time? Might an hour’s wiggle room be good, if they’re able to stay for longer? Resolve such queries before the event draws nearer, and everyone will be on the same page.
Be ‘all ears’ on the date itself
Whilst prior preparation is important, we strongly urge anyone looking to hire a band for a party, gain a host for an awards ceremony, or book any entertainment for that matter, to also be responsive when the event rolls around. In practice, that means catching up with them at various points throughout the day, evening or night. It can be you personally, or someone else – just be clear on where the act can go to raise an issue, question or suggestion, for whatever reason.
Corporate entertainers are dab hands at working a crowd. Yet they may have legitimate concerns about where to stand or perform, who’s introducing them, when a soundcheck can be done, or any number of practicalities. By giving them a sounding board, the show will be all the crisper for it!
Talent agencies don’t represent acts who pick and prod at your event for no reason. Or at least, they shouldn’t. A roster like Silk Street’s is made up entirely of professionals – and they’ll only ask questions and make suggestions if they think it’ll make for a smoother event for you.
Try to avoid clashes with photography
Some of our event entertainment acts include a photo specialist in their events package. Most don’t, however, so you might be hiring an independent photographer for your wedding, high-class dinner, charity ball or birthday bash.
The entertainment will probably have set times for group photos. And of course, the last thing you want is for a band to be playing at their fiery best when no one is around to capture the moment. So map out precisely when the big shoots should take place, and tell both parties in advance.
This can extend right down to the details of snapping the performers in action. Flash, for example, can be distracting – you may want to reserve it for times when the host or comedian is talking to the crowd. The basic rule, as ever, is figuring out who’s comfortable with what.
Finally – treat your event entertainment well!
Kindness is our greatest currency. When people know you’re on their side – instead of feeling treated like an afterthought – the whole event will be a pleasure, not a slog. They’ll enjoy their time (and perform better!) if you prepare snacks, drinks and a dressing room. The same goes for reserved parking, or storing their gear until the gig starts.
Remember: these people are here for you, but they won’t appreciate feeling like a spare part. That’ll wave a red flag at your hopes to hire them again, should the first performance go well. Don’t let an oversight tarnish your memories of what should be a great event.
That’s a wrap for our pitfall-avoidance plan… Be sure to keep our advice in mind when you’re sourcing your next entertainment hire. Silk Street, as one of the UK’s foremost talent agencies, will link you to an act that’s suitable for your theme, event timings and plan – whatever the occasion may be. And you can count on their experience. Call us on 0800 756 5512 or get personalised recommendations straight to your inbox when you fill in our online contact form. Let’s pull the curtain on your next headline act.